Sunday, June 26, 2005

Vision Asia may be JIT for Indian football

Just as the Asian Football Confederation makes strides in introducing its Vision Asia program to India, Indian football supporters, administrators and players appear dejected about the state of the game in their country.

According to former Olympian Mewalal, the standard of Indian soccer has gone way down from its earlier days and if proper guidance is not given, things are bleak for the game in the future.

“Now the Indian Football Association is headed by a politician. Therefore, 50 per cent of his work is as a politician and the other 50 is as a president. So he is not able to dedicate his entire work on the development of the game,” he said in an interview in the Telegraph (Calcutta).

He further complained that there has been a decline in the number of foreign teams coming into the country to play matches with the Indian team. “When we played, four to five foreign teams used to regularly visit our country to play exhibition matches. This helped us with the techniques. We used to learn the nitty-gritty of their style. But now everything has stopped,” he said.

The country's celebrated football international, Harjinder Singh, feels that there is no need for a foreign coach to be appointed to the national side. Arguing against the All India Football Federation’s policy, he said it was next to impossible for good quality foreign coaches to deliver with the "sort of shabby" soccer infrastructure that existed in the country now.

"I don't think we need a coach from abroad. The foreigners are used to advanced facilities. If you want to bring foreign coaches, then you have to give him infrastructure as good as in leading soccer nations," he said as quoted by PTI.

Earlier this month, Olympian Sailen Manna directed the blame to club administrators. "All over the world, even in China, which made remarkable progress in a short while, standards have improved and are maintained mainly through club soccer," he said, as quoted by the Hindu.